James Patterson’s Co-Author Competition Winner

Today, we are excited to announce the winner of the second James Patterson Co-Author Competition! After receiving book outlines from the three finalists, James chose Tucker Axum III from Lafayette, Louisiana as the grand prize winner. James couldn’t pass up Tucker’s story of espionage and sex trafficking in the seedy underbelly of Japan. Tucker now has the chance to bring his story to life as James Patterson’s co-author.

“I enrolled in James Patterson’s MasterClass to learn more about his writing philosophy, and to improve my own writing,” Tucker explains. “Patterson’s course is amazing, and I’m thrilled to be part of this experience. I thank my fellow classmates, and salute MasterClass for their commitment to bringing the experts to our fingertips.”

Thanks to all the MasterClass students who participated in the competition and congratulations, Tucker!

Herbie Hancock Teaches Jazz

Legendary icon and fourteen-time Grammy® Award-winning musician Herbie Hancock will teach his first ever online class exclusively with MasterClass. The class is currently available for pre-enrollment starting today at www.masterclass.com.

In his class, Hancock teaches his approach to music and how this translates into life philosophy.   From his mentorship with Miles Davis through his genre-bending work as a bandleader and solo artist, he will share stories from a life in music and deliver expert technical lessons for professional and amateur pianists, musicians, jazz performers, composers across all genres, lovers of music and jazz aficionados.

In addition to being recognized as a legendary pianist and composer, Herbie Hancock has been an integral part of every popular music movement since the 1960’s.  At a young age, Hancock had already gained recognition as a child piano prodigy and performed an impressive Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age eleven. He went on to play jazz in high school and explored his passion for both electronics and science. In 1963, Hancock joined Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet.  Davis served as an inspiration and mentor for Hancock.  Hancock continued to progress in his field and became one of the most influential jazz musicians, discovering the melodious bridge between traditional jazz and electronic sound. His many accolades include being named a Kennedy Center Honoree, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Institute Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and Co-Chair of International Jazz Day. Now in the sixth decade of his professional life, Herbie Hancock remains where he has always been: at the forefront of world culture, technology, business, and music. He is currently in the studio at work on a new album and most recently announced a world tour.

“Miles Davis taught me a lesson I’ll never forget: in jazz there are no mistakes. Every note you play is an opportunity to take your music further. That idea opened my ears to worlds of musical possibilities. In my class, I will share those ideas and help you discover your sound. Through lessons in harmony, rhythm, composition, and improvisation, I will show you how to write and perform with freedom,” – Herbie Hancock

“Herbie is simply amazing. He is not only a music legend, but he is devoted to helping the next generation of musicians. The depth and the joy with which he shares his craft is a revelation” – David Rogier, CEO and Co-Founder of MasterClass.

Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess

We are thrilled to announce our newest MasterClass, Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess. Considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time, Kasparov is a chess Grandmaster, 15-year World Champion, writer, and political activist. From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, he was ranked No. 1 in the world for 225 out of 228 months. In 1985, he became the youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion at age 22. His legendary matches against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue put chess and artificial intelligence on front pages around the world. Kasparov maintained his No. 1 world ranking until his retirement from professional chess.

In his first ever online class, Kasparov reveals the strategic thinking and tactics that made him the world chess champion. He shares his legendary understanding that informs every move — from openings through middlegames and endgames — as well as some remarkable ideas that Kasparov prepared during his career but has never revealed until now. Students will also learn to improve their training methods and analyze their own games to ultimately play better and bolder chess.  In addition, Kasparov will share his philosophical approach to key chess topics including analysis, preparation, the use of computers, mental toughness, and broader concepts of chess strategy.

“This MasterClass was a unique opportunity for me to share my lifetime of knowledge and passion for the game of chess with the highest possible quality. There is plenty of concrete instruction in every phase of the game, plus general training advice to help people reach their potential. Most critically, I hope to inspire students to love the game as much as I do. Well, almost as much as I do!” said Garry Kasparov, MasterClass instructor.

“I took chess lessons until I was 18 and Garry was my hero. His matches and approach changed how I thought about the game. The class will not only make you a better player, but a better decision maker.” said CEO and Co-Founder David Rogier of MasterClass.

Pre-enrollment for Garry Kasparov’s class begins today at www.masterclass.com.    

Dr. Jane Goodall Teaches Conservation

Introducing Dr. Jane Goodall, our newest instructor! Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace and one of the world’s most renowned naturalists and conservationists, will offer her first-ever online class on Conservation.

For over 55 years, Goodall has dedicated her life’s work and studies to animal sciences and ethology, with a strong focus on chimpanzees and human impact on the environment.  At the very young age of 26, Goodall traveled to Tanzania with a fascination for wildlife, and left with a mission to save the chimpanzee species and spread a message of hope for our planet.  In 1977, she founded the Jane Goodall Institute to continue her passion for species conservation and protecting chimpanzees from extinction.  Her groundbreaking work and research with chimpanzees has helped redefine the relationship between humans and animals.

 In her MasterClass, Goodall will address and respond to the environmental concerns of the modern age and the climate we live in.  She will share her expert advice on communication and advocacy strategies, as well as a global view of the interconnected threats to animals and the environment. Through her course, students will learn about chimpanzee behavior, animal intelligence, human impact on the environment, environmental conservation, and Goodall’s reasons for hope in the next generation of activists.

“There is no better time for people everywhere to have access to this course and take individual action to drive change. There are too few days in the year and only one place I can be at a time. This course gives me an opportunity to share my research and insights with people all around the globe.” – Dr. Jane Goodall

Pre-enrollment for Goodall’s class begins today at www.masterclass.com/jg.

Diane von Furstenberg Teaches Building a Fashion Brand

Today, we are excited to announce our newest MasterClass, Diane von Furstenberg Teaches Building a Fashion Brand. In her first ever online class, von Furstenberg teaches how to build a fashion brand, including how to differentiate yourself, create a visual identity, test your product, build a team, and make a name for yourself in the fashion industry.

As the founder of one of fashion’s most timeless brands and designer of the iconic wrap dress, von Furstenberg’s experience and perspective on what makes a strong and enduring brand resonates far beyond fashion. Her online class will focus on building a fashion brand, while also diving into finding your inspiration, authenticity, overcoming failure, and gaining confidence. As a mentor, she offers an unflinching look at the instincts that have guided her career and life.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to teach this MasterClass and to share my knowledge, my experience, successes and failures,” said Diane von Furstenberg. “It is a class about building a fashion brand but it is also about designing your life.”

“Diane is an amazing teacher and mentor. She not only teaches how to design and build a fashion brand, but she shares business and life lessons that apply to everyone,” said David Rogier, MasterClass CEO and Co-Founder.

The class is currently available for pre-enrollment starting today at www.masterclass.com and will officially become available this summer.

David Mamet Joins MasterClass to Teach Dramatic Writing

Today we announced that David Mamet, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter, and director of such works as GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, AMERICAN BUFFALO, and WAG THE DOG will offer his first ever online writing class.

David Mamet is one of the most acclaimed writers of our time. His early work off-Broadway with THE DUCK VARIATIONS, SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO, and AMERICAN BUFFALO first earned him recognition. He has gone on to write over 30 plays, more than 15 books, and screenplays for films like THE VERDICT (1982), HOFFA (1992), and WAG THE DOG (1997). In 1987, Mamet made his feature film directorial debut with HOUSE OF GAMES, and went on to write and direct over 10 more films, shorts, and TV series.  The two-time Academy Award© and Tony nominee was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his work on GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS in 1984. In addition to his work for the stage and screen, Mamet authored novels and essay collections like The Village (1994) and Bambi vs. Godzilla (2007).

In his first-ever MasterClass, David Mamet will teach writing for both the theatre and screen. Mamet will teach students how to structure a plot, create compelling characters, write dialogue, and create a compelling scene.

Pre-enrollment for the class begins today at www.masterclass.com/DaMa

“We all slow down with age. When successful artists begin to slow down they, many times, turn to philosophizing about their art. This is enjoyable, as the artist can delude himself into thinking his musings have worth beyond any potential entertainment value. I firmly believe in the things I propound on MasterClass. I hope you will find my presentation diverting; you may even conclude, at some point, that the things I say are both true and useful. More likely, if they divert you, you may, some day, remember my class with affection, and, having had your own career, opine, as will then be your right, that I was good-hearted but misguided,” 

– David Mamet

James Patterson’s Co-Author Finalists

We are thrilled to announce the 3 finalists who are one step closer to becoming James Patterson’s co-author. The following finalists will receive a prize valued at $2,500 and will submit outlines for their book ideas. James will review their submissions and select one grand prize winner to be his co-author.

Congratulations to the following 3 finalists! (listed in alphabetical order) 

Check out these selections from their written interviews to learn more about their writing experiences and inspirations.

MaryBeth Yates Florida, USA

What drives you to write?
I’ve always had a love of telling stories. I write to share those stories with others, and hopefully bring them some entertainment/enjoyment in the process.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from James’s class so far?
OUTLINING!! I have always been horrible at this, and for some reason Mr. Patterson’s approach just clicked with me. It has really helped me on several projects already.

Tammy Vaughter Nebraska, USA

What drives you to write?
There’s just this amazing feeling that comes with expressing, and creating a connection with my characters. I love creating characters in a world I can imagine, develop and control through words and scenes, and then watch a story unfold. This drives me to write. My parents shielded my siblings and I from television and influences they felt may steal our innocence and hamper our spiritual growth. Instead we were herded outdoors, into nature and traveled for a time in a gutted out school bus. We grew up poor, but I didn’t realize this until early adulthood. We lived along the flanks of the Verde River in Arizona in a tent. I feel like my parents decision to isolate my siblings and I for a time, fueled my creativity and imagination. This opportunity to live free inspired me to read and write at a very early age. And I must admit as well, acknowledgement in my writing is also a driving factor.

Who has been the most supportive in your writing? How do they help you?
My family has been the most supportive, especially my husband of 30 years, TJ. He has never let up with encouraging me to write. He reads anything I put in front of him and he offers honest criticism. I value his support. He is the one who gifted me the awesome James Patterson MasterClass and strongly urged me to enter the contest. I live in a very small community with a small circle of friends and family. My mother and my 4 grown children all love to write as well, and are very supportive of me.

Tucker Edward Axum III Louisiana, USA

What drives you to write?
I grew up in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country. Storytelling over delicious cuisine was a daily pastime for us. I learned early on that people yearned to be inspired and transported to other locales and eras, and writing has been my preferred tool for storytelling. Writing allows me to take loved ones and strangers on adventures around the world. Whether bringing a World War II soldier back to life, nursing an injured plane to terra firma, or walking the somber grounds at Auschwitz, words touch our hearts and minds. They remind of us our common humanity.

How do you plan to keep readers engrossed in the story?
People love a great story, and one with the right amount of suspense. I think of it as making a gumbo. Don’t worry about the recipe—just cook with your heart. Pour in a bottle of imagination, a hint of realism, sprinkle some humor, a dash of drama, and toss in some dialogue. Let it all boil together and stir it occasionally. The aroma excites you and makes you impatiently crave the finale. Your and my gumbo probably won’t taste the same, but they should both nourish the body, and make people wanna come back for seconds.

Visit our previous post to learn more about the 10 semifinalists – here

Meet The James Patterson Co-Author Competition Semifinalists

Thank you to everyone who participated in the James Patterson Co-Author Competition and congratulations to the semifinalists! We had the opportunity to learn more about our 10 semifinalists. Check out the following selections from their written interviews to learn more about their writing experiences and inspirations (listed in alphabetical order).

Blake Northcott Ontario, Canada

What drives you to write?
Writing is in my blood! My grandfather was a bookbinder in pre-war Czechoslovakia, and my ancestor wrote one of the first books about settling here in Canada during the 1830s – her book is still taught at universities to this day.
Aside from my lineage, I just love the craft. I get a buzz of excitement when I read a great novel, and it inspires me to put words of my own on a page. I can’t read an exciting book without sitting down to write something immediately afterward!

What is the most important thing you’ve learned from James’ class so far?
That perseverance is ultimately the key to success. Hearing that he was rejected by publishers so many times and never let it defeat him was so uplifting. I’ve probably seen that lesson fifty times, and I still go back to it for inspiration!

Jack Mathers Pennsylvania, USA

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from James’s class so far? From the Passion and Habit lesson, it’s not even James Patterson’s quote, it’s his grandfather’s: “When you go (over the mountain) to work in the morning, you gotta be singing.” I think I actually teared up when I heard this. This is how I need to live my life. I need to sing. This was my favorite chapter. I have heard many people say many motivational things, but in this lesson, JP was speaking directly to me. I learned a lot of good techniques in the other chapters, but THIS one is the one that shook me.

Who has been the most supportive of your writing? How do they help you?
My wife for sure. I would not have even thought of taking this class if not for her. She has continued to believe in me despite my own (nearly constant) self-doubt. She is my biggest cheerleader. Not only has she given me encouragement, but she is my number one person to go to when I am working out an idea. Sometimes she has input, other times, she just listens. It’s usually perfect, even if she gets me fired up about something, I probably needed it.

Javier Sanchez Ohio, USA

Which writers do you aspire to be like?
I’m not going for brownie points when I say James Patterson. I struggle with reading and the psychology behind making short chapters and the rush of endorphins that come from the “mini accomplishments” every 3 to 4 pages really works. I was thankful when I discovered his style. I also enjoy the writing of Malcolm Gladwell. Every time I read one of his books it’s like peeling back a layer to humanity and seeing a perspective you wish you would have thought of yourself, but are still thankful that you were exposed to it through him. I’d like my writing to do the same.

If you could take a MasterClass from anyone, who would it be?                                    Tom Burrell. He is a marketing communications pioneer who revolutionized the use of positive and realistic images of African Americans in television advertising. He practically invented marketing to urban minority populations.

Jessica Goeken Illinois, USA

What drives you to write?   
What drives me to write is knowing the person that I want to be. I enjoy writing, I love the way words go together and create something beautiful. I like to think that I’m talented, and I can’t imagine not writing and wasting whatever talent I have. I don’t want to look back on my life and wish that I had pursued something that I was passionate about, rather than what was simply available at the time.

Which writers do you aspire to be like?
I aspire to be like Tolkien. The depth and complexity of his characters and the world that he created is, to me, unmatched. I want to be able to think like that, to weave that kind of a story.

Jule P Miller III Mississippi, USA

If you could spend 5 minutes with James, what questions would you ask him?
I would like to know what he dreams about, what he still wants to do in his life. I would like to know what he thinks of science fiction, and whether he would like to co-write a science fiction piece. Finally, I would ask him if he wanted to drop by and have a bowl of gumbo sometime.

Who has been the most supportive of your writing? How do they help you?
In the more than 30 years of our marriage, my wife has always been encouraging of my desire to write. This past year and a half she has taken on the burden of being the sole breadwinner of our family so that I could develop my writing skills. Without that help, my writing would only ever be a hobby.

MaryBeth Yates Florida, USA

What drives you to write?
I’ve always had a love of telling stories. I write to share those stories with others, and hopefully bring them some entertainment/enjoyment in the process.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from James’s class so far?
OUTLINING!! I have always been horrible at this, and for some reason Mr. Patterson’s approach just clicked with me. It has really helped me on several projects already.

Matthew Trafford Ontario, Canada

If you could spend 5 minutes with James, what questions would you ask him?
Other than spoilers for what might happen in the next season of Zoo, I would want to hear about any times he thought he might have to give up on writing a particular book or story, and how he overcame that feeling.

How do you plan to keep readers engrossed in the story?
If you want to know that, I would encourage you to take James’s class and pay particular attention to lesson 13, Writing Suspense. In all seriousness, the best way to keep readers engrossed is to tell a fantastic story, the kind I would want to read myself. If I’m not bored, the readers won’t be.

Michael Jaoui New York, USA

If you could spend 5 minutes with James, what questions would you ask him?
Is there a story that got away? A story that’s great but you just can’t find the right way to get it on the page? I have a few of those, and I’m curious if a writer as accomplished and skilled as James Patterson does too.

What’s your favorite book?
That’s a tricky question. There are so many books that I love, and it’s hard to pick one. If I have to, I’d say All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren, because it has something for everyone and is beautifully written. It’s got political intrigue, family drama, twists, turns, and action. It’s a timeless masterpiece.

Tammy Vaughter Nebraska, USA

What drives you to write?
There’s just this amazing feeling that comes with expressing, and creating a connection with my characters. I love creating characters in a world I can imagine, develop and control through words and scenes, and then watch a story unfold. This drives me to write. My parents shielded my siblings and I from television and influences they felt may steal our innocence and hamper our spiritual growth. Instead we were herded outdoors, into nature and traveled for a time in a gutted out school bus. We grew up poor, but I didn’t realize this until early adulthood. We lived along the flanks of the Verde River in Arizona in a tent. I feel like my parents decision to isolate my siblings and I for a time, fueled my creativity and imagination. This opportunity to live free inspired me to read and write at a very early age. And I must admit as well, acknowledgement in my writing is also a driving factor.

Who has been the most supportive in your writing? How do they help you?
My family has been the most supportive, especially my husband of 30 years, TJ. He has never let up with encouraging me to write. He reads anything I put in front of him and he offers honest criticism. I value his support. He is the one who gifted me the awesome James Patterson MasterClass and strongly urged me to enter the contest. I live in a very small community with a small circle of friends and family. My mother and my 4 grown children all love to write as well, and are very supportive of me.

Tucker Edward Axum III Louisiana, USA

What drives you to write?
I grew up in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country. Storytelling over delicious cuisine was a daily pastime for us. I learned early on that people yearned to be inspired and transported to other locales and eras, and writing has been my preferred tool for storytelling. Writing allows me to take loved ones and strangers on adventures around the world. Whether bringing a World War II soldier back to life, nursing an injured plane to terra firma, or walking the somber grounds at Auschwitz, words touch our hearts and minds. They remind of us our common humanity.

How do you plan to keep readers engrossed in the story?
People love a great story, and one with the right amount of suspense. I think of it as making a gumbo. Don’t worry about the recipe—just cook with your heart. Pour in a bottle of imagination, a hint of realism, sprinkle some humor, a dash of drama, and toss in some dialogue. Let it all boil together and stir it occasionally. The aroma excites you and makes you impatiently crave the finale. Your and my gumbo probably won’t taste the same, but they should both nourish the body, and make people wanna come back for seconds.

 

James Patterson’s 2017 Co-Author Semifinalists

Once again, we were blown away by the quality of submissions for James Patterson’s second co-author competition! As the enthusiasm within the student community grows, we are thrilled to make this opportunity possible for a second time.

After careful review and consideration of every submission, we’re excited to announce the following top 10 semifinalists. These 10 semifinalists will receive a prize valued at $1,000. Then, three will move on to the final round where they will receive a prize of $2,500 value and submit an outline for a chance to become James’ co-author.

.Top 10 Semifinalists (listed in alphabetical order)

  • Blake Northcott
  • Jack Mathers
  • Javier Sanchez
  • Jessica Goeken
  • Jule P Miller III
  • MaryBeth Yates
  • Matthew J. Trafford
  • Michael Jaoui
  • Tammy Vaughter
  • Tucker Edward Axum III

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the competition and congratulations to the our semifinalists! Remember to check back next week, as we will be announcing the top 3 finalists on April 13th.

New Investor IVP Leads Round to Accelerate Class Development and Expand the MasterClass Instructor Roster

MasterClass announces a $35 million Series C funding round led by IVP. Existing investors, including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Javelin Venture Partners, Bloomberg Beta, Advancit Capital, Novel TMT, Yan-David Erlich, Matthew Rutler (MX Investments) and new investors GSV Acceleration and Sam Lessin participated in the round. This brings the total funding raised by the company to $56.4 million to date.

MasterClass plans to use the funding to accelerate class development, expand the roster of instructors, and build out the team to make it possible for anyone in the world to learn from the best. Eric Liaw (IVP) and Roseanne Wincek (IVP) will be joining the board alongside existing board members Rick Yang (NEA) and Alex Gurevich (Javelin Venture Partners).

“We are honored to lead the Series C round at MasterClass,” said Eric Liaw, General Partner at IVP. “From Serena Williams teaching tennis to Gordon Ramsay teaching cooking to Kevin Spacey teaching acting and soon Shonda Rhimes teaching television writing, they are delivering on their mission to make the knowledge of the world’s great masters available to everyone and it’s exciting to partner with them.”

“We launched MasterClass with belief that everyone should be able to learn from the best and a hope that if we could do that we had a chance to make the world just a little more equal. This round of funding will enable us to accelerate the sharing of knowledge,” said co-founder and CEO David Rogier. “We’re thrilled to be working with the IVP team.”

See additional press coverage to learn more:

TechCrunch
Variety
IVP News